Buckwheat is a flowering plant in the family Polygonaceae. The scientific name, Fagopyrum comes from the combination of the Latin Fagus (beech has in common with the very characteristic shape of triangular seeds) and gal greek Piros (as also from the seeds of wheat from the seeds of buckwheat flour is obtained). Because of its nutritional and use of food, this plant is often placed commercially, including cereals, although this classification is scientifically improper, not belonging to the buckwheat family Gramineae. Actually buckwheat is one pseudocereal; the definition of commodity corn says it is all the herbaceous plants that produce fruits, ground, give rise to flour used to produce food.
It grows wild in areas of Siberia and Manchuria. The cultivation has spread to China in the tenth century and in the West during the Middle Ages. There are several sources of thought into how it occurred its propagation, but of all, two are the most reliable. According to the first strand, the Turks would have introduced the plan in Greece and the Balkans, and from this derives the name buckwheat, wheat that the Turks or Saracens. The second theory is that the spread has occurred across Asia and northern Europe by the migration of the Mongolian peoples, from southern Russia, brought wheat to Poland and Germany, from where it would spread in the rest of ‘Europe. It is likely that both theses are valid and that the propagation occurred simultaneously from both north and south.
Buckwheat doesn’t stand the cold, and therefore demands to be cultivated in the spring and summer during which fails to perform quickly their biological cycle. As in the countries of Northern Europe this plant appears as a main crop in Italy is mainly intercropped practiced after a fall-winter cereal such as rye or more rarely wheat.
The triangular seeds are used as fodder for farm animals, or ground into flour for use in food. The whole plant are also used by farmers as fodder or bedding for livestock. Moreover, from the flowers of buckwheat honey bees they get a dark and very tasty.
Among the many qualities of buckwheat it is also to be a food rich in iron, zinc and selenium, and so much to combat diabetes and is a great antidote against bleeding.
It is distinguished from the common cereal for the high biological value of its proteins (14.1% against 9.2% of wheat and 8.5% of the corn flour) containing the eight essential amino acids in optimal proportion, while “cereals real “contain little lysine.
Lysine, essential amino acid, is present in high percentages, greater than those of the egg and of all the other cereals, with values ranging between 4 and 20% depending on the environmental conditions in which it is grown.
In cakes, buckwheat is used to whole grain.